on an even keel
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a. Having a horizontal surface; flat: an even floor.
b. Having no irregularities, roughness, or indentations; smooth. See Synonyms at level.
c. Being in the same plane or line; parallel: The picture is even with the window.
a. Having no variations or fluctuations; uniform: the even rhythm of his breathing.
b. Of uniform distribution: an even application of varnish.
c. Placid; calm: an even temperament.
a. Equal or identical in degree, extent, or amount: Use even amounts of butter and sugar.
b. Equally matched or balanced: an even fight.
c. Just; fair: an even bargain.
d. Having nothing due on either side; square: If we each take half, then we'll be even.
e. Having exacted full revenge: He finally got even with his betrayer.
4. Having equal probability; as likely as not: an even chance of winning.
a. Having an equal score: The teams are even at halftime.
b. Being equal for each opponent. Used of a score.
a. Exactly divisible by 2.
b. Characterized or indicated by a number exactly divisible by 2.
a. Having an even number in a sequence.
b. Having an even number of members.
8. Having an exact amount, extent, or number; precise: an even pound; an even foot.
a. To a greater degree or extent. Used as an intensive with comparative adjectives and adverbs: This painting is good, but that one is even better.
b. Indeed; moreover. Used as an intensive: He was happy, even ecstatic. Even a child knows better.
c. Used as an intensive to indicate something that is unexpected: declined even to consider the idea.
2. At the same time as; already; just: Even as we watched, the turtle emerged from its shell.
3. To a degree that extends; fully: loyal even unto death.
4. Exactly; precisely: It was even as he said: the jewel was gone.
tr. & intr.v. e·vened, e·ven·ing, e·vensIdiom:
To make or become even.
on an even keel
In a stable or unimpaired state: "There was good reason to keep relations with Washington on an even keel" (Helen Kitchen).
[Middle English, from Old English efen.]
[Middle English, from Old English ǣfen.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.